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Allegheny Health Network Partners with Region’s EMS Providers to Advance Treatment of Heart Attack Patients
Date:11/7/2013

Pittsburgh PA (PRWEB) November 07, 2013

When a heart attack strikes, time is never on the victim’s side. Without swift treatment to restore blood flow to the heart, a patient’s chances of survival or escaping serious cardiovascular injury diminish by the minute. That’s particularly true for a dangerous type of heart attack called ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), in which a coronary artery is completely blocked.

Allegheny Health Network physician leaders announced today that they are standardizing a newer concept in heart attack care that seeks to improve STEMI outcomes by enabling Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers throughout western Pennsylvania to diagnose patients from the field and alert hospital cardiac catheterization teams to begin preparing for their arrival.

The “First Contact-to-balloon” initiative, also called EMS-to-Balloon (E2B), builds on the concept of “door-to-balloon time” and pushes STEMI care to the next level, said Thomas Campbell, MD, Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Allegheny Health Network.

National guidelines established by the American Heart Association call for a “door-to-balloon time” – the time it takes from when a patient arrives at the hospital emergency department to when their blocked blood vessel is opened with a balloon catheter – of 90 minutes or less.

“First Contact marks a major change in how we have traditionally approached the broader management of patients who suffer a heart attack outside the hospital,” Dr. Campbell said. “Time is the most important factor in determining who survives a heart attack, and “First Contact” protocols have shown the ca
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